If you have a home, if you have neighbors, and if you have a car, then you probably at one time or another have had an issue or question about parking along the street where you live.
One thing to always remember is that if you’re parking along the side of a public street, you are required to have all of the tires on the right side of your vehicle within 18 inches of the curb. This means that you can’t park on the opposite side of the street where you would face oncoming traffic. This also means that you can’t park facing a curb, even if you’re in a court. Courts are those half-circle shaped notches of paved road along City streets. Sometimes, there is just enough curb in between driveways to park a smaller car. Some people decide to park their vehicle nose toward the curb in their court. This type of parking will block solid waste trucks and can limit access for emergency vehicles. If you park nose to the curb, you’re likely to get a visit from a Traffic Division officer from the St. Peters Police Department.
When St. Peters police respond to a parking violation, in most cases they will give you a warning first. The department’s philosophy is that they want you to be aware of the rules and give you a chance to correct the situation. If the car is parked in any way that causes a safety issue, however, you are likely to have your car towed and receive a ticket.
Here are some other facts and notes about parking that are worth remembering:
- Nobody has ownership of parking spaces along a public street, even if it’s in front of your own home. This is useful to remember when talking about whether to restrict parking along a street. For example, some neighborhoods near schools have on-street parking restrictions to limit the increase of parked vehicles during the school year. Please remember, though, that since it’s a public street, parking restrictions apply to all vehicles, even those owned by the residents who live on the street.
- Sometimes, our Traffic Department studies whether parked vehicles create unsafe traffic conditions on a street. Their study will consider whether parked cars limit access to emergency vehicles, school buses, and solid waste trucks. Sight lines, crash history, and general traffic safety also are studied. If the City Traffic Engineer determines that limiting parking could improve traffic flow or safety, the City may install no parking signs as allowed by City code.
- One thing to think about is that on-street parking actually could slow traffic on your road. Our traffic engineers find that people drive at the speed they’re comfortable with. Narrowed lanes and parked cars can reduce drivers’ comfort levels and slow them down.
- It’s illegal to block a driveway with a parked car—and that includes blocking your own driveway. Just as you cannot park in front of your street if it’s marked “No parking,” you cannot park in front of your own driveway. The law pertains to the public roadway, not private property. A traffic officer would not be able to make an exception that would allow you to block your own driveway.
- It’s illegal to park on a sidewalk. You also are not allowed to block the sidewalk access that crosses your driveway. Keep in mind that not all sidewalk users can go around your vehicle. For example, your vehicle could block someone traveling in a wheel chair or pushing a stroller.
- Parking within 30 feet of a stop sign or traffic signal is illegal. Parking near a stop sign or traffic signal causes drivers to swing their car out further to avoid your vehicle, causing conflicts with oncoming traffic.
- It’s illegal to park in an intersection. This is also the case for a T-intersection that has three arms. Even if there’s an open curb at the top of the “T,” it’s illegal to park there. We want our intersections to be as clear of obstructions as possible.
- You cannot park within 10 feet of a mailbox between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. This restriction does not apply on Sunday and federal holidays.